Ocean and coastal mapping matching fund opportunity

The Office of Coast Survey invites non-federal entities to partner with NOAA National Ocean Service’s ocean and coastal mapping programs on jointly funded projects of mutual interest using NOAA’s geospatial contracting vehicles. Known as the Brennan Matching Fund, the opportunity relies on NOAA’s mapping, charting, and geodesy expertise, appropriated funds, and its authority to receive and expend matching funds contributed by partners to conduct surveying and mapping activities. Partners benefit from this opportunity by leveraging NOAA’s contracting expertise, including its pool of pre-qualified technical experts in surveying and mapping as well as data management to ensure that the mapping data are fit for purpose and are usable for a broad set of purposes, including, for example, safe navigation, integrated ocean and coastal mapping, coastal zone management, renewable energy development, coastal and ocean science, climate preparedness, infrastructure investments, and other activities.

The opportunity commemorates the vision of Rear Adm. Richard T. Brennan, former Coast Survey Director, who we lost unexpectedly in May 2021. Rear Adm. Brennan was a champion of Coast Survey’s hydrographic knowledge and expertise to fulfill a broad number of coastal and ocean mapping needs under the integrated ocean and coastal mapping banner “map once, use many times.”  He understood that knowledge of the depth, shape, and composition of the seafloor has far-reaching benefits, including safer navigation, hazard mitigation for coastal resilience, preservation of marine habitats and heritage, and a deeper understanding of natural resources for sustainable ocean economies. He also understood that mapping the full extent of U.S. coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes waters would mean relying on partnerships to combine resources and expertise.

The concept behind the opportunity is that NOAA will provide up to 70 percent of the total project cost, with the selected entity providing at least 30 percent of the total project cost via a memorandum of agreement. For example, if a project costs $1 million, the selected entity must provide at least $300,000 with NOAA providing up to $700,000. Additional funding for a project exceeding $1 million may be provided at NOAA’s discretion – for example, if the project aligns with a larger NOAA survey priority. NOAA will rely on its existing contract arrangements to conduct the actual surveying and mapping activities. We expect this opportunity to expand our collaborative partnerships and mapping efforts while also serving to increase funds available for NOAA geospatial contracting vehicles.

An image showing the cover of a memorandum of agreement on the left and the Indian River Lagoon project area, which spans more than 600 square miles of Florida's east coast on the right.
In the spirit of the Brennan matching fund, an example of a successful partnership is the 2022 NOAA and St. Johns River Water Management District agreement to share costs and acquire topobathymetric lidar data of the Indian River Lagoon with the help of NOAA contractor Dewberry. The Indian River Lagoon, on the east coast of Florida, is one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in North America, with mangrove wetlands and salt marshes serving as nurseries for many organisms. These coastal areas also filter runoff, stabilize sediments, maintain water quality and protect shorelines from erosion. The Indian River Lagoon is also part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, seeing extensive use by both commercial vessel operators and recreational boaters enjoying nature and water-based activities.  Left inset:  front cover of the MOA.  Right inset:  Map of the project area.

Further details, including the timing of an informational webinar, may be obtained in the Federal Register Notice. Questions may be directed to iwgocm.staff@noaa.gov.

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